While surfing television the other day, I chanced upon this hugely popular show that has a nonconforming storyline of two women vying for the same man's attention. One happens to be his sweetheart turned wife, the other, his ex wife, who, I realized, is pregnant with the man's child. Ironically, both women live in the same house. Since I had heard a lot about this show, I decided to watch the entire episode that evening. I was keen to assess if it held my attention for the next 20 odd minutes. It did. The drama, the conflict between the characters, the emotions, the situations the characters had landed into, all kept me hooked.
Okay, so why am I discussing a television program? Well, I have come to realize that practically every paarivaarik theme is tackled by television these days. I have also come to realize that television does far more justice to these themes than films. Which is what I strongly felt while watching Isi Life Mein.
Come to think of it, Rajshri Productions is synonymous with memorable films that became an instant hit with family audiences. The turning point was two films, Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun. Trendsetters both. These two films brought family audiences back to theatres, infusing life in the veins of a critically ill film industry then. These two films, besides Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, opened new vistas and horizons, gave birth to an altogether new breed of film-makers and reinforced confidence in Hindi cinema then.
Isi Life Mein tries so hard to be cool as well as a perfect family film in the same breath, but what comes across on screen is a lifeless fare. The love story doesn't work, neither does the paarivaarik portions. The culprit, you guessed it right, is the written material yet again.
Final word? A major letdown!
Isi Life Mein tells the story of two teenagers - Akshay Oberoi and Sandeepa Dhar. Akshay is from Mumbai, while Sandeepa hails from Ajmer. Sandeepa arrives in Mumbai for further studies and meets Akshay, who heads the dramatics department of the college. They are drawn towards each other, but don't express their feelings till the end.
Besides highlighting a present-day love story, director Vidhi Kasliwal remains faithful to the Rajshri tradition of showing the traditional side as well. The story re-introduces you to a world many of us may have consigned to oblivion thanks to the barrage of urban-centric themes that are churned out with amazing regularity. The film talks of familial bonding. It also packs in desi sentiments. But the problem is that the noble intentions don't come across convincingly on celluloid.
In terms of screenplay, Isi Life Mein is structured on the lines of Hum Aapke Hain Koun. The story barely moves in the first hour, but the film changes gears during the second half. Frankly, you expect a dramatic twist in the tale, but nothing happens. Ideally, the film should've concluded when the father [Mohnish Bahl] calls off his daughter's marriage, but the 'Taming Of The Shrew' episode and the bizarre culmination only makes the goings-on tedious.
Like most Rajshri films, the characters here are saccharine sweet. In fact, they are too good to be true and that, in my opinion, looks fake. Technically, it's a decent attempt, but content-wise, like I said, there is no plot at all. Music was always one of the USPs of Rajshri, but the music of Isi Life Mein is below par. The songs are better filmed, though.
The only noteworthy aspect of the film is its lead pair. Akshay Oberoi is talented - no two opinions on that. He has good screen presence, but most importantly, he acts very well. Sandeepa Dhar is another talent that catches your attention. Her expressions are just perfect. Also, she's extremely photogenic. Salman Khan is wasted in a cameo. Mohnish Bahl is his usual self. Shagufta Ali is okay. Prachi Shah does well. Aditya Raj Kapoor is wooden.
On the whole, Isi Life Mein lacks the Rajshri stamp. It tries so hard to be cool, but ends up falling flat on its face.